Experimental prog-punk rockers Packrat might be going through a lineup shakeup at the moment, but that hasn't derailed core members Brandon Wilson and Rodrigo Ibieta from making new music.
Emmit Thatcher renounced his position as the band's drummer earlier this month causing the group to cancel a series of shows this summer.
The setback hasn't been all negative, as the group can now focus on its new album, Passive/Aggressive. Here's a look at the first single off of the upcoming record, released Monday. Bassist Ibieta talks about "Vultures of Knowledge" and what's next for Packrat in this brief Q&A.
Up on the Sun: How did the track come about?
Rodrigo Ibieta: The song instrumentally was put together mostly by Brandon at first. He had written the basic core of the song and the various guitar riffs. We had gotten together with Emmit just before he decided to leave [the band]. We kind of jammed it out a little bit, then me and Brandon went into the studio and recorded it from there and tightened it up. Like I said, Brandon wrote the guitar originally, and then I came in and added in the drums and the bass and sequenced the whole thing together.
We recorded it, and then about three or four days later, I started experimenting with different vocal ideas. There's a few different interesting vocal effects on the song. I was kind of playing around with some different vocal sounds and textures in the lyrical writing process.
It took maybe five or six days for the whole thing to come together in the studio.
Brandon mentioned a speed bump before the song released Monday night. . .
Yeah, that was in regard to Emmit's deciding to leave the group earlier this month. He decided that he's going to move on from the group and try out some other musical projects. He's going to school over in California, so he kind of come to the conclusion that he didn't have it in his schedule to make time for the band. Which is totally fine, there's no hard feelings or anything like that.
So you guys are on the market for a new drummer then?
Sort of, yeah. Brandon and I are basically working on writing the album ourselves in the studio. I'm kind of a drummer by trade, even though I play bass in Packrat. So we've been kind of piecing the songs together between the two of us. I've been filling in the drum parts and then going in to add the bass.
I have a full setup over here at my house where we do all the recording. We're just kind of working on the album right now. Actually, we jammed with a good buddy of ours the other night, so we're just feeling some new stuff out and trying some new things.
And live shows must be on the back burner for now.
Yeah, we are trying to find a bandmate as soon as possible so that we can get back to playing shows. We had a couple of weeks' worth of Southwest shows booked for August that we're not able to do now, so I would definitely like to play a couple of gigs before the end of the summer.
I think we're going to spend the next month or so in the studio, just feeling some new sounds out and get a few new songs under our belts. We're shooting for a vinyl release for the new album, which is called Passive/Aggressive. We're expecting to have it out by September or October.
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What kind of ground are you guys exploring with the new album?
With every sequential album that we put out, we try to push our sound to the extreme; both on the quiet end and on the heavy end. We do consider ourselves like a post-hardcore or punk band, if you will, even though we're not like a traditional punk band. But we're always pushing the extremes of the sound we've created for ourselves. Passive/Aggressive is the next step in that. The basic concept of the album is going to be a 45 rpm 12-inch record. It's going to be two 12-minute sides of music. The theme is that one of them is going to be geared toward the aggressive side of Packrat, while the other will be geared toward the softer side. We're experimenting with the more subtle vocal sounds. I'm not really a singer, per se, so I've been trying to work on my vocals a little bit more in terms of getting cleaner melodic tones. And just playing around with softer kind of alt-rock songs on the album which you can hear on "Vultures of Knowledge."
We definitely want to maintain the aggressiveness and the heaviness that we've had for the entire life of the band. Because we love playing heavy music, and we like to have fun on stage and give it all we got.